Meet Your Newest COVID Vaccinators

March 8, 2021

Vaccination Training Accelerated for CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine Students

CHSU osteopathic medical students are now on the front lines administering vaccines to the most vulnerable in our community. First year COM students Brianna Mae Holcomb and Andrea Torres were the first of many students in CHSU’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program to administer COVID vaccines.

On February 23, Holcomb and Torres joined Dr. John Graneto, Dean, Chief Academic Officer, Vice President of Health Affairs of the CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in assisting at the Fresno Fairgrounds COVID vaccination clinic.

Typically, medical students would be trained to administer intramuscular injections, like vaccines, in the second year of their curriculum during their Clinical Skill learning sessions. But both students and faculty recognized the need for vaccinators in our community and wanted to help. Students specifically requested to receive training on vaccine administration.

“The students came to us and said, ‘we want to be able to tell our grandchildren that we participated in the solution to this pandemic,’” said Dr. Graneto. “This is a tremendous opportunity for them – and they recognize that.”

OMS-1 student Yusur Alsalihi completes her training with the CHSU Simulation Center earlier in February. See more.

Throughout February, medical students had attended training from the CHSU Simulation Center on vaccine administration and intramuscular injections (IM). They completed a competency check-off for IM and safety practices including donning and doffing PPE. After completion of this training, medical students can administer vaccines at the Fresno Fairgrounds under the supervision of one of our faculty members.

Holcomb and Torres completed their training and started volunteering at the Fairgrounds. Patients were supportive and happy to help facilitate their learning when Holcomb and Torres told them that they were just learning how to administer vaccines.

“Throughout the morning, we were able to spend time forming relationships between CHSU-COM and the community we serve,” said Holcomb. “Patients had been waiting eagerly for the chance to be vaccinated and everyone was excited to be part of what will hopefully be the beginning of the solution to this pandemic.”

And the community is grateful for their support. Torres said that the patients they assisted expressed their appreciation both as they were administering the vaccines, and as she and Holcomb left the Fairgrounds. A few people waiting in line recognized them as health care providers and wanted to thank them for their efforts.

“I had never imagined how rewarding it is to participate in a vaccination campaign, especially as a provider,” said Torres. “The experience was definitely a great reminder of why I wanted to study medicine in the first place.”

Torres and Holcomb say they are planning to continue volunteering as often as their rigorous course schedule will allow. Other CHSU osteopathic medical students are also excited about this opportunity.

Over the past three weekends, several first year COM students have answered the call to help vaccinate at the Fresno Fairgrounds. Thank you to the following OMS-I students who have volunteered so far:

  • Yusur Alsalihi
  • Jake Dertinger
  • Joshua Garcia
  • Mia Hirsh
  • Brianna Mae Holcomb
  • Sarah Holzmann
  • Edward Hu
  • Zachary Josse
  • Rahil Khasgiwale
  • Christine King
  • Zade Kurdieh
  • Tyler Laws-Mahe
  • Volodia Muradyan
  • Natalie Pardo
  • Samantha Phillips
  • Sahba (Helina) Saleh
  • Dina Shakran
  • Seaver Stoll
  • Varsha Swamy
  • Andrea Torres
  • Carter Yang
  • Nathan Zapata-Perdew

Other first year medical students are scheduled to volunteer on site at the Fairgrounds in the coming weeks.